Camping on the top of mountains or in the valleys?

Elite

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 4, 2018
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564
Wondering what everyone’s opinions are on where to set up camp when you are glassing and moving type of hunting? Have been hunting bighorn sheep in Alberta for a few years now. Our mountains are full of thick trees until you get high into the alpine. I have always tried to camp high in the alpine and try and sneak along the top of the mountains and peak into the bowls/valleys.

Cons to me are

Hiking the full pack weight straight up the mountain and also a lot of extra water to camp there for a bit.

Usually very windy in the tent

No fires usually at night due to no wood up there

Pros

Can see and glass to the far mountains

Seems like in my head I see more then the guys that hunt on the horses and stay in the valley?

Let’s hear everyone’s opinion


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lcpaul22

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Sep 24, 2017
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55
I prefer to stay high up, in a sheltered spot, with some reasonable access to water. If you get wet and need a fire, retreat to the tree line and dry yourself out. If you are up high, you often get better angles when glassing.


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30338

Well Known Rokslider
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Jun 2, 2013
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1,607
Have a hunt coming up with those options. Being high and having minimal climbing early is my preference. Lack of water where I am also makes it a con for this. May do 2-3 day outs and come back and refuel and water back up. Also like dropping down on critters more than coming up from below.
 

mod7rem

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Jun 28, 2013
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Location
British Columbia
It depends on the terrain. Some areas that we hunt Stone sheep are very rugged so it can be almost impossible to stay on top and ridge hunt from drainage to drainage. Just get cliffed out everywhere. Camping up too high just limits where you can go in terrain like this. In areas like this it’s best to camp in the valleys and pick which drainages to hunt each day.

If the terrain allows ridge hiking from drainage to drainage, then I prefer to camp up high if possible.
 

bcnorth

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Jun 1, 2018
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33
Location
bc, canada
Depends on terrain, weather, time of year, water but generally i prefer to stay just below treeline for most days. Access to water, firewood, good sleeps makes the trip for me. I also hunt late august to late september and find the sheep are usually not right on top. I will campout up high if the inreach weather shows good weather and its good glassing area or sheep are put to bed. Many times i will loosely plan to stay up top so i throw in basic over-night gear and rain gear, tarp, down jacket and extra food. If we want, we stay up there.
 
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Elite

Elite

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Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
564
Depends on terrain, weather, time of year, water but generally i prefer to stay just below treeline for most days. Access to water, firewood, good sleeps makes the trip for me. I also hunt late august to late september and find the sheep are usually not right on top. I will campout up high if the inreach weather shows good weather and its good glassing area or sheep are put to bed. Many times i will loosely plan to stay up top so i throw in basic over-night gear and rain gear, tarp, down jacket and extra food. If we want, we stay up there.

Do you find them on top later in the year?


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Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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I've been on a dall sheep hunt where sheep started moving deeper and deeper into remote canyons as they viewed us camped way below. My guess is that it's wise to camp out of sight of where sheep hang out whether that is high or low.

Obviously the more time you can spend in areas with a view of slopes with sheep the higher chance you have of locating them. Sometimes views from across a canyon will save you a heck of a lot of hiking. Once you are on the ridge with sheep it's a lot tougher finding and spotting them.

As you mentioned it's super nice being up high above the trees covering gobs of country with eyes. Once on a ridgetop it's possible to cover lots of country but you are also super visible...especially when sky-lined.

If you happen to know dependable ridges with rams it generally pays to sit and glass rather than spook them. I've actually sat across canyons from bighorn sheep rams and often never saw them until they came out of the cliffs in the late afternoon or super early in the morning. They have a way of knowing where to hide during daylight hours that are out of sight.

There are so many scenarios with sheep. It generally pays to be super patient rather than spooking rams. Use your eyes more than your legs!
 

bcnorth

Junior Member
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Jun 1, 2018
Messages
33
Location
bc, canada
Do you find them on top later in the year?
Overall sheep are lower - less bugs, cooler temperatures and snow up higher sometimes in early September. Sheep go high to escape bugs, heat and hunting pressure. By sept bugs r nearly non existent and hunters are much fewer targeting sheep. The drawback is adverse weather and higher risk camping up high. Snow is fairly common up high early sept
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